Irish Property Market May Rebound

The part that the collapse in the Irish property market played in destroying the Irish economy has been well documented. The 2007 height of the market now seems like an eternity ago with prices falling by as much as 47% according to the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO). The market collapsed, the banks collapsed, the economy collapsed. The EU, IMF and ECB provided loans to Ireland to keep the country running on condition that part of these loans was used to pay back bondholders in Europe, many of whom were based in Germany and France. The punitive rate of interest … Continue reading Irish Property Market May Rebound

Memories of an Irish Christmas by Marie O’Byrne

‘Hurry today love, there’s a lot that needs to get done. We have to catch the early bus into Bray to pick up the turkey!’ My mother spoke fast and very excitedly as she handed me the empty milk pail. It was early in the morning on Christmas Eve. I put on my wool coat and hat, grabbed the milk pail and ran out the door. I was about twelve years old. Running across the fields to the Massey Farm, I could see the small footprints I made in the frosty morning grass, and I could feel the hard ground … Continue reading Memories of an Irish Christmas by Marie O’Byrne

Trouble Continues in Ulster Over Flag Restrictions

The decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the number of days that the British Union Jack flag can be flown above Belfast City Hall from 365 days to 17 has been greeted with an escalating amount of violent protest in Belfast and beyond. At least 27 police officers have so far been injured in the violence that has followed several protests by loyalists who oppose the decision. Bricks and petrol bombs have been thrown at security forces, cars burned and death threats made to Councillors. Despite appeals by the North’s First Minister Peter Robinson,himself a loyalist, for the violence … Continue reading Trouble Continues in Ulster Over Flag Restrictions

Osborne, Lavery and Leech – A Trio Of Irish Painters

Walter Osborne was born in 1859. He painted mainly in the French Brittany region of Quimperle but moved to England in 1884. His paintings of rural scenes that dominated his early years gradually gave way to an ‘impressionistic’ interpretation of those subjects that he had great empathy for, namely women, small children and old people. His superb images of young girls at play are still cherished by the National Gallery of Ireland: The Dolls School, The House Builders. John Lavery was born in Belfast but was educated in Glasgow, London and Paris. He originally worked as an apprentice photographer but … Continue reading Osborne, Lavery and Leech – A Trio Of Irish Painters

Sixth Successive Austerity Budget May Be The Final Straw

The annual budget announced by the Irish Government has been received with a greater degree of anger and protest than previous announcements. This is the sixth successive austerity budget that Irish Governments have enacted. All have been unpopular but this latest budget may represent a tipping point. Already reeling from years of tax hikes and cuts in services the Irish public had elected Fine Gael and the Labour Party on the basis that a new direction would be taken. A very different direction from that followed by the previous Fianna Fail administration. It is not that the Irish people expected … Continue reading Sixth Successive Austerity Budget May Be The Final Straw

Ireland Ranked 25th Most Corrupt Country in 2012

The Berlin based watchdog ‘Transparency International’ has released its latest report regarding national public sector corruption. The new study uses metrics such as the independence and efficiency of the state judicial system as well as the effectiveness of oversight of public spending to compile the list. According to the latest results Ireland has fallen from 19th place last year to 25th place in 2012. The study measures the perception of corruption, given that most corrupt dealings are secret or never detected. Of the 176 countries that were analyzed Greece ranked in 94th place, the worst of any EU country. Widescale … Continue reading Ireland Ranked 25th Most Corrupt Country in 2012

10 Things You May Never Have Known About Dublin

HOW DUBLIN GOT ITS NAME The Gaelic name for Dublin is ‘Baile Atha¬†Cliath’ which translates literally as ‘town of the hurdle ford’, a description of the bank of wooden hurdles built up across the river Liffey by the Vikings. The word ‘Dublin’ is actually a composition of two Gaelic words: ‘dubh’ meaning ‘black’ and ‘linn’ means ‘pool’ (or ‘mire’). Thus the literal translation of the words from which Dublin gets its name is Black pool! Crossing the ‘hurdle ford’ was not without its dangers. In 770 AD a band of Bon Valley raiders were drowned crossing the Liffey at the … Continue reading 10 Things You May Never Have Known About Dublin